Farmers have always been at the mercy of Mother Nature, and recently, the weather has caused the price of hay to go up in our area.
“Yeah, it has gone up from where it used be $3 a bail to around $5 a bail,” said Ryan Davis, of Davis Feed Supply in Randleman. “This year has been a struggle for the hay guys. With the amount of rain we've had this year, we just haven't been able to have the number of cuttings we normally have.”
Davis says it also doesn’t help that there are fewer local hay farmers in general these days.
However, V. Mac Baldwin, owner of Baldwin Family Farms in Yanceyville, says he’s found a way to keep his 2,000 head of cattle fed year round without relying on hay.
“If we had a forage that would grow in summer regardless if it rained or not, or in winter regardless of how cold it got or how much snow is on the ground, we'd count that a blessing. That's what we think we have,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin plans ahead and grows different grass mixtures in the winter and summer. His winter mixture is composed of winter annual ryegrass, perennial ryegrass, and crimson clover. He grows crabgrass in the summer.
Baldwin says other cattle farmers will sleep better at night if they follow his lead.
“There's quite a few people that are trying to retain ownership of their cattle and finish them out on grass. I just want to see them do it the right way and enjoy the benefits of it,” said Baldwin. “
But that isn’t the only alternative.
To make up for the local shortage, Davis Feed is now importing higher quality hay from states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.